Historical Realities of Maritime Principalities


Haqāʼiq al-akhbār ʻan duwal al-biḥār (Historical realities of maritime principalities) is a comprehensive textbook in three volumes on the history of European and Middle Eastern maritime powers from ancient times to the late 19th century. It was written mainly for students of the Egyptian Military Academy in 1896−98 by Admiral Ismaʻil Sarhank (also seen as Sarhang). The first two volumes contain significant detail on the Ottoman and Egyptian military forces, material that is useful in tracing the growth and decline of Ottoman military power and the development of Egypt’s armed forces during the 19th century. Although there is no bibliography or mention of sources, it is clear from the text and footnotes that Sarhank had access to Egyptian palace documents and a well-stocked library of Ottoman and European military and political history. Admiral (sometimes called General) Sarhank was nazir (headmaster) of the Egyptian Military Academy. His father immigrated to Egypt from Crete. Nothing is known of the author’s education in Cairo, except that he possessed a command of a half-dozen European languages. All three volumes were printed at Bulaq Press, the government printing house in Cairo. The final chapters of the third volume appear never to have been published.

Date Created

Publication Information

al-Maṭbaʻah al-Amīrīyah, Cairo


Title in Original Language

حقائق الأخبار عن دول البحار

Type of Item

Physical Description

3 volumes ; 28 centimeters


  • Volume 1 has no table of contents. Volume 2 has a table of contents at the front of the volume. Table of contents for volume 3 is bound at the end of volume 2.

Last updated: June 9, 2015